City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Bumblebees Need Our Help Says Minister


By edg - Posted on 15 May 2008

Bumblebee in Edinburgh Botanic Garden

Scottish Environment Minister Michael Russell urged gardeners yesterday to help bumblebees as he launched Scottish Biodiversity Week (19-25 May).

As plant pollinators, bumblebees play an essential role in the food chain for crops such as raspberries in
Scotland. However, bees have suffered a rapid decline in numbers worldwide in recent years. It's
speculated that with far fewer flowers in the countryside for bees to feed on due to changes in land use practices, bee numbers have dwindled and exposed wild bee populations to deadly viruses. Whole hives in the wild have gone empty.

The Minister said that individuals can help. "We
can make a difference by planting flowers that bees feed on, whether you've got
a garden or just a window box on the windowsill of your
flat."

Scottish National Heritage, who are supporting Scottish Biodiversity Week, say the most important thing you can do to help bees is to plant
bumblebee-friendly flowers such as lavender, scabious and foxgloves but that
does not mean that you have to turn your garden or window box wild. An up-turned
flowerpot and a piece of hose, is all that is need to provide a nest for the
bees.

Professor
Colin Galbraith, SNH's director of policy and advice, welcomed Mr Russell's
support for the week. He said: "Scottish
Biodiversity Week encourages everyone to enjoy Scotland's
unique wildlife and habitats through events taking place throughout the country.
Millions
of years ago flowering plants evolved and early bees began pollinating them.
This eventually produced many of our food crops, our beautiful flowers and life
as we now know it. We can all do something positive to help keep this incredible
biodiversity."

Among events taking place during Scottish Biodiversity Week is a Homes for Wildlife drop-in
session at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to discover practical steps that
can be taken to attract wildlife to gardens and window boxes.

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If you follow the link (related links) to the Bee Conservation Trust there are photos and graphics for identifying bees, and details of how to join in "BeeWatch 2008."